AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the only man who can deny Lewis Hamilton a fifth Formula One championship, spun on the opening lap of what could be a decisive U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday and dropped to 15th place.
Hamilton, who started on pole position for Mercedes, was second after losing out to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen into the first corner.
The Briton will be champion if he scores eight points more than Vettel at the Circuit of The Americas and was on course to do that.
Vettel had started in fifth place and made contact with Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo at turn 13 while battling for fourth. He had moved back up to ninth after six laps.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar